When Jean-Louis Palladin came to the United States in 1979, he was already known throughout Europe for his breathtaking culinary range. His Washington restaurant, Jean-Louis at Watergate, quickly became one of America's finest; French food writer and critic Henri Gault has called it "perhaps the best restaurant outside of France."
With lavish photographs and complete recipes for over a dozen seven- and eight-course meals, Jean-Louis: Cooking with the Seasons encompasses Palladin's art. Prize-winning photographer Fred J. Maroon deftly manipulates lighting and acrylic surfaces to showcase dishes of startling beauty: a crawfish crowning a baked potato, artichokes and milk-fed lamb dressed with a vinaigrette of Vosne-Romanée 1972, chestnut soufflé with poached pears, apples, and peaches.
In four engaging essays and excerpts from interviews, Palladin reveals how a master of classical and contemporary French cuisine varies his repertoire throughout the year. A sunburst pattern of snow peas, asparagus, and corn celebrates summer's bounty, while a salmis of Mulard duck with honey mushrooms and glazed pearl onions complements winter's robust spirit.
Despite his culinary sophistication, Palladin prizes the traditions of his native Gascony, giving his cuisine down-to-earth qualities that set him apart from other chefs of our time. Looking through a 19th century recipe notebook willed to him by a woman of his village, he discovers a superb preparation for duck. Nostalgic for the savory, nutritious bone marrow served with pot-au-feu in French bistros, he incorporates the marrow's flavor in an elegant flan. In Jean-Louis: Cooking with the Seasons, he shares these recipes and over 100 more, including an entire vegetarian dinner and a menu which features black or white truffles in every course.
Inspired by the quality of America's produce, Palladin has won acclaim for dishes such as his crab cakes with Maine lobster mousseline. Jean-Louis: Cooking with the Seasons offers brilliant settings for Maine oysters, Louisiana crawfish, Texas venison, and Maryland soft-shell crab. Among the wine suggestions for each course, California vintages are well represented.
The recipe section, exactingly tested for the home kitchen, explains the preparation of every dish portrayed. With so many delicacies in each course, cooks can recreate whole dishes or explore hundreds of enticing details from crispy sweetbreads Mirepoix to huckleberry sorbet.
True to the spirit of Palladin's work, Jean-Louis: Cooking with the Seasons is not only a tribute to one of today's greatest culinary geniuses, but also an inspiration to food lovers everywhere to experiment, to learn, and to rejoice in the pleasures of the table.